Almost every athlete has been told at some point that lactic acid is responsible for muscle soreness. 

While the two are certainly correlated in exercise, latest studies show that lactic acid is NOT directly responsible - understanding lactic acid's role in muscle physiology can maximize your workouts' effects.

From a NYTimes article (source):

"The understanding now is that muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid. The lactic acid is taken up and used as a fuel by mitochondria, the energy factories in muscle cells.

Mitochondria even have a special transporter protein to move the substance into them, Dr. Brooks found. Intense training makes a difference, he said, because it can make double the mitochondrial mass.

It is clear that the old lactic acid theory cannot explain what is happening to muscles, Dr. Brooks and others said."

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